Lauren joined the YouthRoots crew in 2013. Her background is in experiential education and she holds an MA in Human Rights from the University of Denver. Her favorite activity is doing anything outside with her husband and toddler. She loves working with inspiring youth who make the world a better place.
Erin joined the YouthRoots team in October 2018 after moving to Colorado from Chicago. She has a Masters of Nonprofit Management from DePaul University and over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. During her free time, Erin enjoys reading, baking, and hiking with her husband and two fur-babies.
The YouthScan Project Director
Susie Roman has been leading collaborative teams for 15+ years to advance the impact of nonprofit organizations in mental health, gender-based violence prevention, LGBTQ+ advocacy, positive youth development and social justice. She is thrilled to serve on the YouthRoots team as The YouthScan Project Manager. She is passionate about elevating youth voice on issues that affect their lives and looks forward to bringing her background in program development, outcomes evaluation, communications and fundraising to this innovative project. Susie holds a master’s degree in Gender Studies from the University of British Columbia. When she is not working, Susie loves roller skating, dancing, aerial, lounging in hot tubs, and spending time with her friends and family.
Jenn received her Masters of Social Work from the University of Denver in 2017 after completing her practicum with YouthRoots. Her expertise is in operations and program development with a passion for youth voice. In her spare time, she enjoys being outside with her partner and dog or snuggling with her cats.
Program & Admin Coordinator
Originally from Michigan, Alyssa’s love of the mountains brought her to Denver to pursue her Master of Social Work at DU. She completed her practicum with YouthRoots and transitioned to full-time in August 2019. She brings experience and a passion for youth empowerment to YouthRoots. Outside of the office, Alyssa loves hiking, traveling, and exploring Denver.
Claire joined the YouthRoots team in November 2021. She is from the Western Slope. Her involvement from a young age with Special Olympics Colorado is where her passion for service and advocacy was born. Claire is a Daniels Scholar who received her Bachelors from Regis University in 2020. She is a proud advocate for the disabled and LGBTQ+ communities. Claire enjoys crossword puzzles and spending time with her animals and family in the mountains.
Alyssa Chavez is a part-time administrative assistant for YouthRoots while earning her bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Relations at the University of Colorado Denver. A YouthRoots alum, Alyssa has always had a passion for youth empowerment. At home, she enjoys spending time with her friends and her dog. Alyssa also has a love for traveling, reading, and movies.
GIV Outreach Lead, North Facilitator
Sylvia, among other roles – is a mother, a wife, sister, aunt, and doggie mom. With a passion for social determinants of health, she’s followed an educational and professional journey to address the disparities experienced by far too many.
For a large portion of her career, Sylvia has supported the critical work of community organizations, health care centers, school districts, and community coalitions as a grant maker in the philanthropic sector. With Sylvia’s lived experience as a black woman, and an immigrant’s daughter; she’s used her perspective and knowledge to initiate the integration of equitable practices in grantmaking. Sylvia has introduced and advocated for the adoption of participatory grantmaking by the philanthropic sector. Sylvia believes that one of the many benefits of the Youth Roots work is to further advance participatory approaches in the philanthropic sector, while spotlighting the perspective and contributions of youth in philanthropy.
Javon was born and raised in Colorado and grew up in Northeast Denver (Park Hill). He is ardent about advocating on behalf of others and being a conduit for the voices of constituencies, as well as seeking to disrupt traditional notions of philanthropy by giving his time, talent, treasure and testimony. He is the past board chair and grant chairman for Denver African American Philanthropists and served on the non-profit internship committee at the Denver Foundation. Most recently, Javon was appointed to serve as a founding advisory committee member for the Black Resilience in Colorado Fund (BRiC) at the Denver Foundation.
Facilitator - CEI Youth Connections
Ann is the facilitator for the Youth Connections Youth Council in partnership with Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) which uses the YouthRoots program to empower youth to make a difference! Previously, she was the facilitator for the Youth Advisory Council in Sioux Falls, SD and was in YAC with our founder when the idea of YouthRoots was planted.
Facilitator - Caring for Denver Youth Advisors
Ashley Jaramillo serves as the Student Events Coordinator in the Office of Student Life at the Community College of Denver. In her role she creates opportunities of engagement for her students by creating diverse and inclusive events. Ashley’s passion is to work with young people and create a sense of community and belong for everyone.
Facilitator - Hemera Beacons
Ru-Jün is the Program Manager on the Contemplative Programs team at Hemera Foundation with over two decades of nonprofit and philanthropy experience in Asia and the US. She is passionate about empowering youth to explore and express their experiences and imagination through the arts. In parallel, she has become a student of somatic contemplative traditions and has learned through years of meditation and dyad practice how we can be with each other with a present and open heart. Ru-Jün is currently in a Master of Oral History program at Columbia University.
Facilitator - Aurora YouthBoard
Candice Bailey is an avid way maker, educator, advocate, and leader in the Denver metro area and across the nation. She is the Founder and CEO of Lighthouse Consultants Colorado, which supports community-based action inside of systems, and is the Founder and ED of Light Carrier, a nonprofit dedicated to nationwide interruption of oppression. She has been an advocate for many campaigns, including being the lead organizer for the Elijah McCain murder, and advocating for the families of Jesse Cedillo, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor. Additionally, she was a founding member of The Caravan for Racial Justice in 2020; a former President of National Action Network Denver; and has had the honor of serving the community on many boards and committees across Colorado and the country. Having both education and lived experience has given Ms. Bailey a raw comprehension of what is truly needed for impactful change for everyone
Facilitator - Douglas County YouthBoard
Sydney is a born and raised "Cali girl". Before moving to Denver, she lived and worked in NYC where she fell in love with working in youth development and empowerment. After ten years of living and working in NYC, she made her home in Denver to be closer to the mountains. Sydney is happy to bring all her years of experience from working in NYC and CO to the YouthBoard. Sydney is a licensed social worker who enjoys immersing herself in the community professionally and personally. When she is not working, she cooks for friends and family, and has adventures with Mr. Rufus (her dog).
Facilitator - South Denver Board
Isaac is a current GIV Fellow and President of his college's SGA, where he has worked on a variety of initiatives for students including sexual health and food insecurity. He has always been inclined towards opportunities that allow him to have a positive impact on others, so he is quite excited for his upcoming time with YouthRoots.
Facilitator - Yellow Springs Youth Action Board
Melissa has more than 40 years' experience as a competitive athlete, fitness professional, and dance/theatre artist. She holds a BFA and MFA in Dance and has worked with several nonprofits, universities, and schools in the US in a variety of positions. A “jack of all trades,” she has nimbly shifted from providing food to the food insecure during the pandemic, to ushering the Yellow Springs Schools through the Youth Action Board, scholarship and grant processes, to overseeing the Foundation's social media presence, all while maintaining her full-time job as owner of a personal training company. During her free time, Melissa enjoys partaking in outdoor activities - from gardening to hiking, biking, kayaking, and just sitting by water and watching the waves roll by. Melissa is the wife of Mary Kay Smith (a local business owner) and a mother of 3.
Facilitator - Pueblo Youth Action Council
Brianna is a proud Colorado Native, born and raised in the San Luis Valley. She has been passionate about empowering youth since she was in high school. She received her undergraduate degree from Colorado College in Anthropology. She is a 2018 Teach for America Corps Member and recently completed her Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado-Denver. She enjoys working with youth to build their leadership skills and become activists in their community. She believes that students should have a voice and have the ability to impact and change the world around us. She currently serves as an Exceptional Student Services Generalist teacher in Pueblo at Pueblo Academy of Arts.
Facilitator - Boulder 15 Forever
Sean Kloppenburg is a Program Associate at Hemera Foundation with experience in education, mindfulness, and philanthropy. Working in the philanthropic sector since 2017, he also taught Social Studies, Health, and personal finance at the High School level. He is a Naropa University certified meditation instructor and has an M.A. in Contemplative Education. He is facilitating the 15 Forever Board in partnership with Community Foundation Boulder County.
Facilitator, YouthRoots Routt County
Ellen Hartman is originally from Pennsylvania and has lived in Colorado for the past 22 years. In parallel with her 20+ year corporate career in learning and development, Ellen has dedicated her time and passion to serve nonprofits and address needs within her community. She has supported causes including workforce development, affordable housing, school district needs, the arts, equine therapy and youth sports. Leveraging her MBA, curiosity, facilitation skills and humor, Ellen is passionate about connecting the dots and bringing people together to tackle meaningful opportunities.
Ellen and her family moved to Steamboat Springs in 2019. She enjoys taking in Routt County’s beautiful views and live music, the energy of her two year old yellow lab, and cheering on her two teenage daughters from various sport sidelines.
Facilitator - SCYC Youth Leadership Council
Angela began working with youth in 2001 during her year with AmeriCorps. After moving to Cortez, CO with her husband in 2005, Angela went into the education sector and taught for 12 years. She enjoys spending time with her wonderful daughter and amazing family and friends, swimming in natural bodies of water, listening to music, dancing, cross country skiing, reading, watching movies, and traveling. Angela is currently a Program Coordinator at SCYC Listens.
Alexandria's journey in the classroom started five years ago after graduating from Brooklyn College with a degree in Childhood Education and Psychology. She continued her education at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and earned her MA in teaching with a concentration on urban education. Her passion for urban education drives the work she does in the classroom, writing curriculum, and mentoring preservice teachers.
Karen Yi is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles and participated on the Douglas County Youth Board during high school. She started web design as a college freshman as a way to combine her interests in art and computer science. In the past, she has designed T-shirts, posters, banners, flyers, and murals for various school organizations. She hopes to open her own online store one day.